IOM recommends standards for practice guidelines/systematic reviews

June 1, 2011

The Institute of Medicine released new reports that recommend standards to enhance the quality and reliability of 2 important tools for informing healthcare decisions: clinical practice guidelines and systematic review of the evidence base for healthcare services.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released new reports that recommend standards to enhance the quality and reliability of 2 important tools for informing healthcare decisions: clinical practice guidelines and systematic reviews of the evidence base for healthcare services.

IOM noted that although these guidelines and reviews are supposed to offer authoritative guidance on the pros and cons of various care options, they too often are of uncertain or poor quality and are not based on any universally accepted standards for development.

"Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust" recommends 8 standards for developing clinical practice guidelines, including maintaining transparency about how a guideline is developed and funded; managing conflicts of interest in the guideline development group through full disclosure and discussion before group selection; choosing a guideline development group that is multidisciplinary and balanced; creating high standards for systematic reviews used to develop the guideline; and establishing evidence foundations for the recommendations along with their rating strength.

The IOM produced both sets of standards in response to a Congressional directive in the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

Institute of Medicine. IOM recommends standards to achieve reliable clinical practice guidelines and high-quality systematic reviews of evidence [press release]. Washington, DC: National Academies; March 23, 2011. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13058. Accessed March 30, 2011.